SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. – A frantic 20-year-old called 911 and told the dispatcher that she and seven other women were being held against their will in a million-dollar mansion. And it all started when, she said, she went on SeekingArrangement.com.
The early Tuesday morning 911 call came from a woman who said she was being held against her will at a home located at 100 Strauss Lane in Sandy Springs, Ga.
"It's house of full of girls and... if I try to leave, he’ll try to kill me," she told the dispatcher.
She also told the dispatcher that she met Kenndric Roberts, whom she referred to as her "boss," on a website called "Seeking Arrangements" and that he forced her to have plastic surgery and makes the women dance for money.
Dispatcher: OK, and how did you meet him?
Caller: On this website. It’s called Seeking Arrangements.
Dispatcher: OK, if you said that there’s nothing illegal going on and you’re not allowed to leave…
Caller: Mm hmm… No, there are times where you can leave whenever you want. But (unintelligible)… and then he’ll like threaten to kill you and stuff.
When police arrived at the home they found eight women, ranging from 19 to 23 years old, being held against their will.
With the assistance of the FBI, 33-year-old Roberts was arrested Tuesday and charged with false imprisonment and trafficking of persons for labor.
"We believe that he'd been making promises to some of these ladies for modeling careers, financial assistance," Sandy Springs Police Sgt. Sam Worsham said.
SeekingArrangement.com has “Sugar Baby Perks” and “Sugar Daddy Perks” displayed on their front page, but attorney Jess Johnson said it’ll be hard to prove that the website was at fault or even had knowledge of any alleged trafficking.
It can be especially difficult to prove, he said, when dating websites post disclaimers like, “money is not to be exchanged, no illegal activities permitted through the use of this website…”
“And that’s going to be their defense,” Johnson said. The website could say, he continued, ‘We set them up and after that we're responsible for their actions.’
SeekingArrangement.com released this statement:
“We are just learning about this story, along with the rest of the world. At this time, we are conducting our own internal research and currently have no additional information.
SeekingArrangement.com is a dating platform intended to be used to connect people interested in mutually beneficial relationships.
We do not condone any illegal activity, and take active measures to protect the integrity of both our site and our members.As always, we intend to cooperate fully with the authorities on any investigation.”
Johnson also said the charges against Roberts may have a hard time holding up for prosecutors.
They would have to prove “sexual servitude,” in other words, that the victim was a minor or coerced, or that there was some type of deception involved, he said.
Roberts is being held at Fulton County Jail. His first court appearance was scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m., but the defendant waived his right to a hearing.